About 40 high school students from Sacred Heart Academy and Girls, Inc. spent a week in Hofstra’s Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Lab building solar panels and wind turbines as part of a program that exposes young women to opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.
The 2nd Annual Hofstra and PSEG Spark Engineering Workshop, organized by Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Dr. John Vaccaro and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Dr. Alexander Pesch, was made possible by funding provided by the PSEG Science Spark Grant.
“The program was able to expose bright young students to engineering and design while introducing renewable energy and its importance to our future,” said Professor Vaccaro. “We hope they gained an appreciation for scientific inquiry and that we have empowered them to become the next generation of creative thinkers.”
Students designed, built and tested small wind turbines and solar panels. First, they developed a solar panel that could track the position of the sun to increase power output depending on light direction. Then, they focused on wind power and engineering analysis, testing the performance of wind turbines while modifying design parameters such as circuit loading, blade length, blade size and solidity.
“I want to go into the biomedical field when I get older,” said Keira Rodkin a tenth grader at Sacred Heart Academy. “This workshop helped me prepare for some of the classes I’ll have to take in college in the future.”
The free workshop is part of Hofstra’s ongoing initiative to support the advancement of women in STEM.